About our Tiger Crane Combination

The folk history of Tiger Crane Combination

Tiger Crane Combination originates in Fujian Province in Southern China and is now based in Singapore under the watchful eye of Master Tan Soh Tin.

When the Manchurians took power in China, the Fujian Shaolin Temple was burned to the ground and the majority of the monks were massacred. However, five Masters escaped. The most famous was Hung Ee Kan, a Master of Tai Chor, or Emperor Tiger style. Hung Ee Kan was an unbeaten champion who was held in great acclaim for the power of his blows and the strength of his stance.

When the Temple was destroyed, Hung Ee Kan took refuge with a Chinese Opera troop, known as The Red Barge, that travelled the country in a red painted barge. Wherever the troop stopped to perform in new towns, Hung Ee Kan gathered together opponents of the Manchu’s and formed secret societies that learnt Tiger from the Master in preparation for the day that the Manchu’s would be overthrown.

Many years later, after Hung Ee Kan had left the Red Barge troop, the story goes that he came across an old man teaching his daughter kungfu. He did not recognise the style of kungfu, but appreciated its delicate movements. As he hid behind a tree watching the training sessions, Hung Ee Kan was seen by the father, who invited him to spar with his daughter.

For the first time, Hung Ee Kan was beaten. He was unable to land a single blow on the girl. She neatly and softly evaded and deflected his punches, rendering their power useless. The girl waited while he attempted to strike her, looking for a gap in his defence that she could use to make a fast and accurate strike to a sensitive point.

Hung Ee Kan wanted to learn more of this style, which was White Crane. He stayed with the girl, named Tee Eng Choon, and her family. Eventually he fell in love with Tee Eng Choon and they were married. This marriage resulted in a style that combined the best of what the two Masters had to offer, the power of the Tiger and the subtleties of the Crane. This style, Tiger Crane Combination, was passed through generations of Tee’s. The district of Fujian Province where the Tee family lived was called Eng Choon.

Tee Ley was a Master of the Iron Palm technique. Iron Palm is focused on training to harden the hand, to allow the practitioner to deliver more powerful blows. Tee Ley was said to only train his right hand, and whatever he gripped with that hand he could turn to dust.

In ancient China, it was customary for Masters to challenge each other to fight. The fights were held on raised platforms, named Lei Tais.

Tee Ley won fame for the vast number of these fights without rules that he took part in, and the fact that he usually killed his opponent. Over time he eventually defeated all his opponents and no one else dared to challenge him. As the champion of Southern China, he decided to retire from fighting and take up shoe making.

However, years after he had retired, the champion fighter of Northern China challenged Tee Ley to fight to decide which style was best; Northern or Southern Shaolin Kungfu. Northern Shaolin Kungfu uses upright stances, high kicks and long range hand techniques, whereas Southern Shaolin Kungfu is focused on strong stances, blocking and short range hand techniques.

Tee Ley initially refused to fight as he was a cobbler and had not fought for a long time. Yet finally the constant threats from his Northern Chinese opponent forced him to agree to the competition, and he travelled north to face his challenger on the Lei Tais. However, he understood that if he defeated his opponent the Northern Chinese would want revenge in their champion’s honour. He made preparations for a fast escape from the region on a boat.

The two champions fought and soon the Northern champion lay dead at Tee Ley’s feet. His devastating knowledge of Tiger Crane and Iron Palm had destroyed the Northerner’s kungfu.

Tee Ley escaped to his waiting boat and sailed back to Southern China, a hero. News of the fight spread throughout China, making both Tee Ley and his style of Kungfu famous to this day.

Today Southern Crane Kungfu teaches Tiger Crane Combination, which was taught in Singapore by Master Ang Lian Huat, and is now taught by Master Ang Lian Huat’s successor, Master Tan Soh Tin.